The Minnesota Vikings really do want to get started early.
While getting off to good starts has been an emphasis in games, the Vikings are getting out to California a full day early, leaving Friday afternoon after their final full practice of the week.
The Vikings were embarrassed in their season opener when they lost 20-3 to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football and this time are imposing a different schedule for their West Coast road trip.
“I think it’s going to be good for us, kind of get a day to get acclimated, get the body and the mind rested and get on the right time change,” running back Adrian Peterson said. “It will be good for us to kind of just relax a little more. I think for sure I’ll be able to get a little more rest because on Friday my son is still keeping me up during the night. That will be a plus for a couple guys on the team. It will be different for us. I think it’s something that should have been done with this team for years now. But they’re making the change now and I think it’s going to work out good for us.”
The Vikings are keeping their normal practice schedule in Minnesota on Friday, but are heading out to Oakland after that and will hold their Saturday walk-through in California.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said he thought the decision to fly out a day early was made even before the San Francisco loss, but it’s also a slightly different circumstance since that season-opening loss started at 9:20 p.m. Central time and the Raiders game on Sunday starts at 3:05 Central.
“Going out there early before a Monday night game may not have been productive. It probably didn’t have anything to do with us winning or losing that game,” Priefer said. “But I think it’s a good idea (this week) because you get out there, it’s a long flight and guys get two good night’s rest and we kind of go through our normal routing on Saturday morning with the meetings and the walkthrough and then having some time off in the afternoon and then meetings at night again. So I think it’s a good idea and hopefully it will help us in our preparation. I think it will and we’ll go from there.”
While the early exit from Minnesota will be good for Peterson’s night of rest on Friday, the early departure is causing Priefer to miss his daughter’s 17th birthday.
Even so, Priefer and Peterson agreed it was a good move for the team.
“I think it is. I kind of go back to the first game, it just felt like we were playing at 10 o’clock at night and the body just wasn’t adjusted to that,” Peterson said. “I really didn’t feel it that much; I felt it a little bit, though. Guys were thinking about things differently. I could tell a lot of guys were just out of sync.”
Since then, the Vikings are 6-1 and are hoping to win in Oakland in to start the second half of their season out right.